Research Assistant 1L summer - Yes or No?

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Raiden
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Research Assistant 1L summer - Yes or No?

Postby Raiden » Thu Jan 31, 2013 7:42 pm

So you get paid, which is good, but how valuable is the experience and how do employers look at it? I figured 1L's don't have too many options, so any experience is good.

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cinephile
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Re: Research Assistant 1L summer - Yes or No?

Postby cinephile » Thu Jan 31, 2013 8:04 pm

$ is great.

But it might be worth your while to split that with some kind of legal volunteering position too, just to get some experience in an office environment rather than sit in PJs all summer in your apt doing research.

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KMaine
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Re: Research Assistant 1L summer - Yes or No?

Postby KMaine » Thu Jan 31, 2013 8:16 pm

It worked out fine for me, job-wise. I got to make money and the work was easy and relatively fun. I was a little jealous of others who got to do more "real" legal work during the summer. Overall, a good gig, and because I worked for a relatively well-known professor, it gave me somehting to talk about on OCI interviews.

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IrwinM.Fletcher
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Re: Research Assistant 1L summer - Yes or No?

Postby IrwinM.Fletcher » Thu Jan 31, 2013 9:06 pm

It won't hold you back at OCI.

Outside of landing the rare 1L biglaw SA, nobody really cares what you do that summer as long as it's legal related. I RA'd my 1L summer because I really liked the professor and $10/hr in shorts/tee sounded better than $0/hr in a suit.

aces
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Re: Research Assistant 1L summer - Yes or No?

Postby aces » Thu Jan 31, 2013 9:15 pm

It depends on what the SA work is. If it's just glorified copy-editing (think: Professor X is updating his casebook and needs you to read through it and find typos!), it can be an awful experience both to go through and to talk about during OCI interviews. If it's actual substantive research (think: Professor X is writing an academic article and needs me to research and write a memo on X discrete legal subject or draft up a section on the historical development of Y that he will include in his article), it can be rewarding both to research and write and to discuss with employers.

Also note that a lot of RA assignments are not particularly time sensitive and can be done remotely (often because the professor is traveling for vacation, conferences, etc). This means you have a great deal of leeway in setting your own schedule, which is good in that you can work from home but bad in that assignments can be frustratingly open-ended or boring and it can be tough to motivate yourself without real deadlines. It's not a fast-paced office environment and can be very different from biglaw and so won't prepare you in that aspect. This obviously depends a lot on the specific professor, though.

KidStuddi
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Re: Research Assistant 1L summer - Yes or No?

Postby KidStuddi » Thu Jan 31, 2013 9:56 pm

Yeah, you should probably disabuse yourself of the belief anyone obtains marketable skills or "value" in 8-10 weeks of summer. It doesn't happen. Nor should you believe that employers are naive enough to think that it happens, because they don't.

OCI is entry level hiring. Experience doesn't matter past its function as a conversation starter. When they ask you what you did this summer, they're evaluating your personality and behavior, not trying to figure out what skills you have. If you've already got a lot of interesting things on your resume, you're fine doing the RA for the money. But if cite checking your professor's esoteric article about an obscure provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act is the only non-school related thing you'll have on your resume this fall, most interviewers are going to have a hard time engaging you for twenty minutes.

IrwinM.Fletcher wrote:It won't hold you back at OCI.

Outside of landing the rare 1L biglaw SA, nobody really cares what you do that summer as long as it's legal related. I RA'd my 1L summer because I really liked the professor and $10/hr in shorts/tee sounded better than $0/hr in a suit.


Not even. 1L SAs are coveted for the exact same reasons 2L SAs are coveted, because they pay you way more than you're worth and can potentially turn into full-time employment. You don't do better at 2L OCI because the 2L firm thinks you'll be a more "valuable" SA (pretty sure that's an oxymoron), you're hired based on your potential. Arguably, having a BigLaw 1L SA might even hurt you at some places because you're much less of a sure thing for accepting an offer. Firms with huge classes don't much care about that, but for some firms that's a big thing. They're not going to pay you to to dick around for 10 weeks if you're just going to go back to your 1L firm anyway. I got asked if I had an open offer to return to my 1L firm in just about every interview at 2L OCI.

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5ky
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Re: Research Assistant 1L summer - Yes or No?

Postby 5ky » Fri Feb 01, 2013 1:19 am

KidStuddi wrote:I got asked if I had an open offer to return to my 1L firm in just about every interview at 2L OCI.


Yeah, but that's because they want to know if you got dinged for sucking.

MinEMorris
Posts: 228
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Re: Research Assistant 1L summer - Yes or No?

Postby MinEMorris » Fri Feb 01, 2013 2:03 am

KidStuddi wrote:Yeah, you should probably disabuse yourself of the belief anyone obtains marketable skills or "value" in 8-10 weeks of summer. It doesn't happen. Nor should you believe that employers are naive enough to think that it happens, because they don't.

OCI is entry level hiring. Experience doesn't matter past its function as a conversation starter. When they ask you what you did this summer, they're evaluating your personality and behavior, not trying to figure out what skills you have. If you've already got a lot of interesting things on your resume, you're fine doing the RA for the money. But if cite checking your professor's esoteric article about an obscure provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act is the only non-school related thing you'll have on your resume this fall, most interviewers are going to have a hard time engaging you for twenty minutes.

IrwinM.Fletcher wrote:It won't hold you back at OCI.

Outside of landing the rare 1L biglaw SA, nobody really cares what you do that summer as long as it's legal related. I RA'd my 1L summer because I really liked the professor and $10/hr in shorts/tee sounded better than $0/hr in a suit.


Not even. 1L SAs are coveted for the exact same reasons 2L SAs are coveted, because they pay you way more than you're worth and can potentially turn into full-time employment. You don't do better at 2L OCI because the 2L firm thinks you'll be a more "valuable" SA (pretty sure that's an oxymoron), you're hired based on your potential. Arguably, having a BigLaw 1L SA might even hurt you at some places because you're much less of a sure thing for accepting an offer. Firms with huge classes don't much care about that, but for some firms that's a big thing. They're not going to pay you to to dick around for 10 weeks if you're just going to go back to your 1L firm anyway. I got asked if I had an open offer to return to my 1L firm in just about every interview at 2L OCI.


TCR. I wish I could naturally write with as much clarity and concision as this guy.




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